Ask Entrepreneur

Starting a Business

Can the board of directors vote to create a DBA or should this be brought to the memebership?

We are a local organization of artists who are finding that our name is restrictive and limiting (we're a small non-profit 501 c-3 corporation) In this instance, can the board of directors vote to create a DBA to update our name or are we required to bring it to the general membership for discussion and vote? We have over 200 members and over 70 attend any given meeting. Our name is restricting our growth and, while I do not want to loose our original name, we want to create a new more inclusive name. We will keep our accounts and tax reporting in the original name of our corporation. I need to know the proper procedure within the group for this change.

Thank you!
CJ Rider
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

How can I make sure underage children aren't buying my products?

I am selling a service on my website where I help people in a lesson form over the internet after they have paid me through Paypal. Everything has been going smooth and great, but I recently had a person pay me for the service and then ask for a refund a few days after he revealed to me he was 16 years old and used his mother's credit card to pay for my service. How can I have people agree to terms stating they are of age and that the credit card they use is actually theirs?
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

What are the requirements for getting a business and import license?

I am planning to start a handicrafts import business in Wisconsin. I need to know the requirements for getting a business license and import license. Should I have an attorney from the beginning to guide me with the legal documents? Are there government attorneys available, since I can't afford an attorney on my own ?
Nina Kaufman
Growth Strategies

What are the pros and cons of for-profit and non-profit businesses?

I can't seem to find anyone who can explain the pros and cons of profit vs. non-profit aside from the obvious. I want to be protected, but don't necessarily want the government and red tape.

I want to establish a place for military members who are being discharged from the service. There are so many places for military members who have been injured (not nearly enough) but nothing for those that are coming home. Most have left for the service right after high school, some right after college and come home with no job skills that can be translated onto a resume. I want to give them a place to get some job skills, an education, love and support from those who know what they have been through.
Nina Kaufman
Franchises

Am I too old to buy a franchise?

I'm a 56 year old female that has worked in a corporate setting for the past 34 years. I'm in the process of doing my due diligence on a franchise. Except for maternity leaves I was never off for illness, worked in a management role, and was in a high stress envirornment. I'm very concerned that I won't have the physical stamina to be at my peak to run a successful business over the next 10-15 years. Do you have any statistics on how many females over 55 start their own businesses or other advice for me?
Bonnie Price
Growth Strategies

How do I recover financially and emotionally from a business failure?

Ten years ago, I was a young successful executive at a large insurance firm. I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and left my high paying job and bought a franchise that became succesful very quickly. I then opened a second location and then all the problems started. Most of the problems were brought on by my own poor finincial decisions. I'm now on the brink of losing both my locations. I went from almost $1 million in net worth to $0. I lost most of my retirement money. I can't pay my mortgage, and I no longer have a car. Aside from the financial problems, my self esteem is non-existant and I've become extremely withdrawn from friends and family. My obession with my business and my financial collapse has left me unmarried at 40 and I feel as if I have no personal or proffessional future. How does someone re-build their life after something like this?
Elinor Robin
Starting a Business

How can I make my recycling business idea profitable?

I am interested in starting an e-waste recycling business in Massachusetts. After doing some initial research, I realized that there is no simple and convenient way for businesses or consumers to dispose of their computers, monitors, printers, cell phones.

However, I am not quite sure how this type of service (collecting and transporting e-waste to recycling plants) can generate revenue. Are businesses or consumers willing to pay for this service if it was more convenient?
Ramon Ray
Technology

What are the costs of setting up a secure WiFi system in my cafe?

I wanted to add WiFi in my independent cafe.
Ramon Ray
Technology

My e-business tanked--how can I cut my losses?

A website business I started tanked due to lack of business capital and profit. I thought of looking for angels but the customer base is not there to provide their return. I think the idea and site could be used by others interested nationally but I don't know where to start. Others with more advertising funding could probably make a go of this site. I'm tapped on advertising dollars. Should I see an attorney or copyright the site myself first, sell the sight outright, or sell the source code and programming over to interested buyers much like a franchise? I'd like to try and get back some if not all of my investment. I had professionals build the front and back-end for me and anyone with a programming team could tailor the back-end to meet their specifications.
Lena West
Starting a Business

What university major would prepare me for entrepreneurship better?

Hi. I'm currently a university student in Australia. I'm currently completing my commerce degree but I'm having trouble deciding which major would be most beneficial to me in the future. I'm torn between finance, management or marketing. I love them all. I was wondering which major would be most useful to be an entrepreneur. I'm leaning more towards marketing and management because they seem to be important in running your own business.
Tim Berry
Growth Strategies

What is the best way to break off a partnership in a small business if I want to keep the clients that I have worked so hard to obtain?

My business partner has no money on the equity into the business and seems to go on vacation every time a big job comes up and expects to still be paid as a partner. Lately, I have had to resolve issues that could have bankrupt me and were caused by stupid mistakes that my partner has been equally trained on and continues to disregard. Her inappropriate behavior with vendors is starting to mar my integrity and professional reputation. This has become a very unequal partnership.
Tim Berry
Starting a Business

Do I need a portfolio of past projects to start marketing my consulting business?

My resume shows work experience in key account management where I presented sales presentations to retailers and buyers. My resume also shows work in the marketing agency setting where I was an account executive working on marketing programs like promotions, events, and sponsorships. I also did creative work for in-store POS. I don't have a portfolio that shows proof of these projects and I am wondering if I need this to start a consulting business or if I can just show clients the services that I offer now and appeal to current needs vs. previous work done as proof.
Pattie Simone
Starting a Business

Is it wise to partner up when opening a restaurant?

I am a 27-year-old female living in small-town Minnesota. I have wanted to open my own restaurant for years now, just haven't taken the jump yet. A good friend proposed that we partner up. I am a little leery. She has her ideas, I have mine, sometimes our ideas match. She does have the business background that I lack. I have been in the restaurant industry for 11 years now and love it. I'm just not sure that partnering up is the best decision for me, but it is appealing. What is your advice?
Brad Sugars
Starting a Business

Given the economic state and the recession outlook, what advice would you give a first timer business owner?

Interested in opening an eclectic vintage and coffee boutique in a quaint yet busy city in Florida. Concerned if now is the correct time to open a business, or if I should wait until the 'downturn' passes?
Brad Sugars
Starting a Business

How do I acquire the former customers of my parents' failing business without my parents resenting me?

My family business is going bankrupt. The plan was for my wife and I to take it over throughout the next few years, but the business has been going downhill. Now I've started my own business doing the same thing because it is what I love and the customers are saying they want to come with me. Is there any crime here? My father is trying to pin the failure of his business on me.
Elinor Robin